Sunday, June 12, 2005

Hijab in France: Muslims' Role

Another questioner asks:

In light of the pressure faced by French Muslims with regard to hijab, what do you say regarding the issue? Your opinion is very much appreciated.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, we would like to thank you for the great confidence you place in us, and we implore Allah Almighty to help us serve His Cause and render our work for His Sake.

Muslims in France should try their best to pressure public opinion to change the prospective law may ban hijab in schools. They should consider that banning of hijab is a challenge to their identity in that country. Whatever steps they take, they should apply wisdom in their approach, as resorting to stern measures is not a viable solution.

Responding to the question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states the following:

“As Muslims, we must stand up and fight for our rights by using all the constitutional and legal means open to us. By enacting such an unjust law, they are undermining the very spirit of the founding principles of their nation. So we must use all available means open to us to get this law changed.

To give in and resign to unjust laws is tantamount to surrendering our faith. So we have no choice but to join forces with all others who are against such unjust laws and get them changed. By trusting in Allah and working diligently and in solidarity with all fellow citizens on this matter, ultimately we will be the winners. Remember the stories of Prophets as told in the Qur'an that teach us that Allah's Assistance is near to those who excel in their efforts. So never give up the struggle. Allah says: “Those who strive for Our sake, We shall surely guide them unto Our ways!”” (Al-`Ankabut: 69).

Moreover, Dr. Jamal Badawi, Member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research and the Fiqh Council of North America, adds:

“We must explain to the public and authorities that unlike wearing large crosses or other religious symbols, the case of hijab is different in at least three ways:

1. It is not a matter of religious symbolism, but it is a command of Allah to Muslim women, and it is part of their religious practice, not symbolism.

2. Muslim women who choose to observe that religious practice are not doing that to challenge the political system, but to practice their due religious freedom, which is by no means intended to hurt others or make any political statements.

3. The nature of Islam as a religion is such that the practice of modesty includes both private and public life. This is part of secularism, not to promote religion or oppress it for that matter.

Muslims should never accept that any non-Muslim define for them what their religion is or demand that they give up their religious belief and practice that does not infringe on others’ freedom. All measures should be done firmly but peacefully and articulately.

When opponents of hijab refer to the principle of equality as one of the bases of the French Republic, they should also refer to freedom as another legitimate foundation of the French Republic.

May Allah help you with this hard test of faith.”

You can also read:

France: Hijab under Attack

Hijab in France: Islamic Views & News

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to write back!

May Allah guide you to the straight path, and guide you to that which pleases Him. Ameen.

Allah Almighty knows best.

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